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What is Aging-in-Place Bathroom Remodeling?

Published on Friday October 6, 2023

As people age past 65, many begin to experience balance issues, making them more susceptible to falls. Aging-in-place remodeling is a popular choice for seniors who wish to remain in their own homes. Because the bathroom is the most slippery place in the home, many people choose to start with bathroom modifications for their elderly loved ones. 

If you’re considering installing an aging-in-place bath and/or shower remodel, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, you’ll find insight into the remodeling process and DIY tips to help make your loved one’s bathroom more safe.

What is Aging-in-Place Bathroom Remodeling?

A bathroom remodel for aging-in-place involves making thoughtful design modifications and installing features that accommodate the unique needs of seniors. These modifications ensure they can use the bathroom independently and comfortably, which makes it safer for those who live alone.

Safety measures, such as grab bars and slip-resistant flooring, mitigate potential hazards and offer peace of mind to both you and your elderly parents. Widened doorways, accessible showers, and ergonomically designed spaces empower elderly parents to move freely within their homes, no matter their mobility issues.

What to Consider Before Starting an Aging-in-Place Bathroom Remodel

Ensuring the bathroom is conducive to the changing needs of your elderly parents is the first step in a successful bathroom remodel. Before starting, carefully assess any specific factors that directly impact their safety and comfort.

Note Any Changes in Their Physical Needs

Observing and understanding any changes to the physical needs of your elderly parents should come first. Take note if there have been noticeable shifts in their balance, frequent falls, or recent surgeries that have imposed limitations on their mobility. These factors will let you know what bathroom modifications to consider.

Identify Necessary Bathroom Modifications

Convenience and safety are intertwined; an easily navigable bathroom layout significantly reduces the likelihood of resorting to potentially unsafe practices, like climbing on stools to reach high shelves. That’s why you need to evaluate the bathroom’s existing convenience and safety aspects. If the current setup proves to be lacking in either of these areas, it’s a sign that a remodel is necessary.

Getting Started With an Aging-in-Place Remodel: DIY Fixes

Here are some easy fixes you might be able to do yourself:

  • Install Better Lighting: Adequate lighting is necessary for seniors with reduced vision. Install brighter, energy-efficient fixtures and consider motion-activated lights to ensure well-lit pathways in the bathroom.
  • Get Anti-Slip Mats: Placing anti-slip mats strategically in areas that often get wet, such as the shower floor and near the sink, significantly reduces the risk of slips and falls for those with balance issues.
  • Put a Shower Seat in the Shower: A shower seat provides a secure and comfortable perch for elderly parents, allowing them to shower with ease and confidence. Choose a sturdy, water-resistant option for longevity.
  • Switch to a Lock-Proof Doorknob: Replace traditional doorknobs with lever-style handles or lock-proof options. This adjustment ensures easy access and exit, especially in emergencies, and eliminates potential struggles with gripping and turning for those with arthritis.

Aging-in-Place Bathroom Remodel Checklist

Some aging-in-place upgrades are ones you can do yourself. For others — like installing a modified bath or shower — you’ll need to call an aging-in-place professional like Long Baths.

1. Accessible Toilets and Sinks

The toilet area poses a significant injury risk due to the frequent up-and-down movements. Minimize this risk when creating an aging-in-place bathroom by introducing additional gripping surfaces around the toilet.

Among the best investments for the toilet area are grab bars. Properly installed, these bars should have the capacity to support between 250 and 300 pounds, providing assistance for sitting and standing. Multiple grab bars at varying heights ensure they cater to the needs of all occupants.

A lower sink is a common feature in aging-in-place bathroom designs, particularly for older adults who may be reliant on wheelchairs. Modify the vanity to allow space underneath for knees or a wheelchair. 

2. Cabinet Replacement

Opt for open shelving instead of mirrored medicine cabinets for effortless medication retrieval. Ample counter space enables seniors to locate necessities swiftly without the challenge of hard-to-open drawers. Non-slip grips on the counter offer further stability for seniors with dexterity difficulties.

3. Bathtubs or Showers

Bathroom modifications for seniors are an important component of an aging-in-place remodel. And, you don’t have to purchase an anti-slip mat — an aging-in-place bathtub can be designed with anti-slip material. 

Alternatively, you can convert your bathtub into a walk-in shower. A barrier-free shower all but eliminates the possibility of seniors tripping on the threshold that common showers have. This modification simplifies entering and exiting, making the shower safer.

You can also incorporate a grab bar, handrail, and/or bench that’s installed directly within the shower. Handheld showerheads are another popular feature, allowing seniors to bring the water stream to wherever they’re standing in the shower. 

Is an Aging-in-Place Bathroom Remodel Worth It?

When considering a bathroom remodel, particularly with an eye towards aging in place, it’s important to weigh the potential value it adds to your home. More individuals aspire to age in the comfort of their own homes, making an aging-in-place-friendly bathroom a valuable asset.

For those considering the ROI on specific upgrades, the most sought-after accessibility features include a full bathroom on the main level, wider doorways and hallways, non-slip flooring, step-free entrances, lever door handles, hands-free faucets, and automated lighting systems. 

Consider Long Baths for Your Aging-in-Place Needs

Whether you are the loved one of an elderly individual who already needs aging-in-place bathroom upgrades or are considering adding some accessibility modifications for the future, Long Baths is here to help. 

Servicing several areas along the East Coast, we specialize in tub-to-shower conversions and many other aging-in-place upgrades. Contact us to speak with a technician and get a free estimate for your aging-in-place bathroom remodel!

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**Excludes labor. Subject to credit approval.

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